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What does it look like to cultivate a community in right relationship with God? In taking the focus off individual members and placing it on the community itself, we recognize that the whole of a university is greater than the sum of its parts, and that individual parts are repeatedly and continually shaped and defined by the whole. Being in right relationship with God begins with acknowledging our longings to be loved, to be known, and to belong in ways encouraging us to put ourselves intentionally and consistently in God’s gaze of love. Coming before God empty-handed and agenda-less, rather than starting another discipleship program or Bible Study, helps us lean into God’s love already at work—common grace. Gratitude flows from opening our eyes to the wonder of God’s sustaining love active around us. As we gaze at God, who is gazing at us, we are transformed—saved from envy, pettiness, selfishness, and sense of entitlement. Transformation begins with grace, where the response is a gratitude that moves back to God and is expressed in love of neighbor—love of all created things, both seen and unseen, held together by Christ. This movement of God in our college communities is cultivated by a shared identity as a Christian community, by seeing and knowing each other, being seen and known, using chapel as a Holy Place, and turning our love outward.


Originally published in Christian Higher Education Volume 17, 2018 - Issue 5: No Higher Calling… Pages 278-284 | Published online: 06 Dec 2018